I just got off the phone with a very large government agency who wants my training help their managers to be better leaders. Here are tools to use whether you are leading a team of 1,000 or just trying to have a better relationship with your 11 year old.
Don't Let The Words Distract You
Studies show that less than half of what is communicated through words. Listening to HOW someone says something is far more important than WHAT they say. Listen for infections, signs and coughs. These are unconscious body signals that 'highlight' a statement. They tell you that what was just said was important. for example If someone says, "I love working on that project." and then coughs or sighs it is likely that there is a part of them that doesn’t believe the statement.
Don't Skip The End
Pay particular attention to what someone says at the end of a sentence. "I'd like to do that but I don't know how." Often people have a preamble of what they think the listener would like you hear. Many state the most honest part of a statement at the end of a sentence.
Ask Is Not A Four Letter Word
Just because you speak the same language…don't think you understand another. The message sent is often not the message delivered.
Masterful listeners ask, ask, ask. Any masterful sales executive knows that the person asking the questions is the person in control of the conversation. One of the easiest ways to become an expert listener is to check to make sure that your perception of what was said was what the speaker meant.
Should, Can't, Have To, But…Crystal Ball.
Each one of these words conveys a judgment. Watch the statement that follows Should, Can't, Have To, But. The listener is telling you that they really don't want to do what they are saying. Watch these words closely and folks in your office will think you are plugged into the psychic hot line.
Yes, No…No Way
If you are asking a yes, no question you are not giving your listener the room to really communicate with depth. Power up your listening power with more open ended questions. (Questions that require something other than a yes or no answer.)
Don't Throw A Brick In The Salad...
Interrupting a speaker is a key signpost of lousey listening. When you listen wait at least 4 seconds after the person finishes speaking before you respond. This will help train you not to interrupt. Not interrupting a man is even more important because men are more linear than women. Here's an easy visual for gender communication styles. Do not interrupt a man laying bricks.
Man Speak = Laying Bricks
Woman Speak = Tossing Salad
Don't Listen With Your Ears.
The University of Santa Monica teaches a revolutionary program of Spiritual Psychology. One of the skills they teach is Heart Centered Listening. Imagine that your heart had ears. If you listen with your heart you will hear the depth of the message any person is trying to convey.